Sunday, October 18, 2015

Navarathri Festival at Thiruvananthapuram

According to  the  Hindu belief Goddess Saraswathi Devi is the deity for Learning,Wisdom,Arts,Literature etc.Saraswathi Devi temples are comparatively less in India than temples of  other deities.But since all Goddesses are separate forms of the same 'Mother  Goddess'  'Aadi Parasakthi' the celebration 'Navarathri' has much importance in all   'Devi' temples especially in temples of  'Parvathi,Lakshmi and Saraswathi'.Navarathri festival is also  well celebrated in Devi temples of 'Bhadrakali,Durga' etc.
 In Kerala more importance is given to Saraswathi Devi for Navarathri festival which is celebrated every year for nine days.'Vidyarambham' which is the initiation of studies for the kids is done on the 'Vijayadasami' day of Navarathri  in Kerala.This year 'Vijayadasami' day is on 23rd October 2015.Elder people prefer 'Vijayadasami' day to start learning something new and  important in their life; for example  classical art forms like 'Bharathanatyam,Kathakali' etc  or anything which requires good skill and intelligence.They all seek the blessings of Saraswathi Devi in this regard. 

Every year at Thiruvanathapuram 'Navarathri Festival' is celebrated in a unique way as per the traditional custom followed from the time of Maharajahs.For the Navarathri festival at Thiruvananthapuram, the Idol of 'Sarswathi Devi' from Padmanabhapuram 'Thevarakettu Temple', another deity  'Munnootti Nanka Devi' from 'Sucheendram temple' of Sucheendram in Kanyakumari District and yet another deity  'Lord Kumara Swamy (Lord Subramanya Swamy) of Kumara Kovil in Kanyakumari District are brought to Thiruvanathapuram in a procession and taken back after the ten day celebration.This practice was started when the Capital of Travancore Kingdom was shifted to Thiruvananthapuram from Padmanabhapuram.

'Sage Kambar'  was a famous scholar who  had in possession with  this 'Saraswathi Devi idol' which he worshiped.He gave it to a Chera King which ultimately reached in possession of 'Venad' Kings.It is at present worshiped  at 'Thevarakettu temple' of 'Padmanabhapuram Palace' where the Venad Kings were residing. Marthanda Varma Maharajah extended Venad Kingdom and  formed the 'Kingdom of Travancore'.  Later in 19th century the Capital was shifted to Thiruvanathapuram, and for the Navarathri festival  the custom of bringing these deities to the new capital city  was started.The 'Moola Vigraham' (Original Idol) of Saraswathi Devi is brought and a lighted lamp will be kept in its position at the sanctum of 'Thevarakettu temple' during those days.
Saraswathi Devi idol will be placed at the 'Navarathri Mandapam' situated near the eastern entrance of the  Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.Pooja rituals are done for the Devi at that place for those ten days and the public can worship her on those days at the 'Mandapam'.For the first three days 'Devi' will be worshiped as 'Saraswathi' next three days as 'Lakshmi' and the last three days as 'Durga'(Parvathy).
Every day 'Carnatic Music Concert' is held at the 'Navarathri Mandapam' and compositions by 'Maharajah Swathi Thirunal' will be given prime importance in them.
  'Keerthanams'(Carnatic Classical Devotional Songs) written and composed by the Maharajah in 'ragas' such as 'Sankarabharanam,Kalyani,Saveri,Thodi,Bhairavi,Panthuvarali,Sudha Saveri,Nattukurinji and Arabhi' are sung one each for the nine days and on the tenth day 'Mangalam' will be sung.'Keerthanams' of other composers are also sung in the concerts.
'Munnootti Nanka Devi' is none other than 'Parvathi Devi' and her idol is kept and worshiped at 'Chenthitta Devi temple' and 'Kumara Swamy' idol is worshiped at 'Aryasala  temple' on these days.Subramanya Swamy's idol is brought on a 'Silver Horse' which is centuries old from Padmanabhapuram  and it is also displayed at Aryasala temple during these days.
The deities will be taken back to their respective places on the 12th day in a colorful procession as same as the one in which they were brought to Thiruvanathapuram.
This year the procession started from Padmanabhapuram Palace on 11th October 2015 and reached Thiruvanathapuram on 13th evening.The procession back to Padmanabhpuram will start on 25th October.
At Thiruvananthapuram there are Saraswathi Devi temples at 'Poojappura Saraswathi Mandapam' and at 'Vattiyoorkavu Arappura Eeswari Amman Kovil' where this festival is celebrated with all its charm.'Carnatic Classical'

music concerts are held at 'Poojappura Saraswathi Mandapam' also during these days.

Navarathri festival has much importance in other  famous Devi temples of Thiruvananthapuram such as 'Attukal Devi temple,Pazhanchira Devi temple,Karikkakam Devi temple' etc also.

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